HORSE SOLDIER
 
VOICE OF THE SIXTH OHIO VOLUNTEER CAVALRY
Volume 1, Issue 13                                                                                                                      Holiday Issue,  2003


BATTLE
OF THE OHIO-ERIE CANAL

     With mounts and riders still recovering from the effects of Morgan’s Raid two weeks earlier, the battered troops of the Sixth Ohio were dispatched September 19 to Zoar, Ohio to greet the Army of Northern Virginia and the United States Volunteers.  As the two powerful forces met on the flood plain of the Tuscawaras River, the Sixth Ohio joined the 4th U.S.  to form the ranks of the Federal Cavalry.  The river was swollen from recent rains, making crossing treacherous at best, but the weekend weather was surprisingly pleasant.

     Friday’s activities commenced with a demonstration of Civil War battle tactics for local school children.  Saturday began with a tactical, then an afternoon battle during which the Federal troops reportedly prevailed, feeling confident enough in their position to attend a ball Saturday evening in the town.  By Sunday afternoon, however, the Confederate troops felt strengthened enough to try one more time to take the ground.

     The battle commenced with a barrage of artillery, as the Rebs in the wooded valley attempted to drive the Federal infantry from the ridge.  Union guns answered in kind, and smoke and thunder hung in the air.  Soon, along the tree line, dismounted cavalry in grey began to probe the Union line, and managed to stir the hornets’ nest as Federal horsemen with sabers gleaming charged down the bank to attack.  Mounting quickly, the Rebel Cavalry met the attack boldly, and by reforming their ranks rapidly even managed to push the Federal troops backward against the levy for a brief instant before they were overcome and driven across the battlefield.  At this point the Federal Infantry marched onto the field, and while they were able to capture several of the Confederate guns and reinforce with a second brigade, the determined Secesh eventually emerged en mass from the woods to claim the battlefield.

     While the battle was particularly devastating to the Union Musicians Corp, not a single horseman appeared to take a serious wound—all in all a good day for the cavalry!


CHRISTMAS IN ZOAR

     Mother Nature decided to decorate for the season this year by dumping several inches of snow across the Tri-state area on Friday December 5.  This leant a decidedly Dickensian appearance to the charming village of Zoar, Ohio for its holiday festival, but did tend to slow the troops on their appointed rounds.  Eventually, however, the fire was burning, the tents erected, and the troops assembled, and the weekend’s scheduled activities commenced.

......................

     “Boots and Saddles” was blown shortly after noon, and a small Federal troop of eight riders and the 6th Ohio war wagon struck out across the snowy cornfields to the nearby Christmas tree farm, which was duly relieved of one of its trees “for the cause”.  The liberated prize was then proudly paraded through town as the troop sought information on the Confederate unit that was rumored to be camped on the far side of the village.  Failing to locate the Rebels, the Union troops returned to camp, only to find it occupied by two Confederate snowmen (both of whom died horrible deaths)!

     While the ladies of the unit did their own foraging, the troops again patrolled the streets in the late afternoon, seeking signs of either Union or Rebel infantry, but found neither.  Either they had sense enough to stay in out of the cold, or they were scared off by the 6th Ohio’s legendary skill with snowballs!

     Desiring to warm their frozen assets somewhere other than a campfire, the unit reconvened in the evening at the Zoar Tavern for a delicious meal, good fellowship, and pleasant libations.  The gains and losses of the past year were recognized, and one member of our group was congratulated on finally reaching the point when he can now take up reenacting as a full time occupation (anybody want to buy a semi?)

........................................

     Special kudos to the troopers (and lady) who braved the tents while the rest of us camped in the hotels, to Trooper Vance for holding that icy bugle to his lips all Saturday (while riding a green horse, yet), and to the lone member of the 51st O.V.I. who came to represent his unit on Sunday!

 

 

ORGANIZATIONAL DECISIONS

     A meeting was held during the winter encampment to discuss the future of the Sixth Ohio, specifically as it relates to the current leadership of the U.S.V. Cavalry.  Discussion continued long into the night of the goals of the unit, the direction we want to go in the future, and the pros and cons of seeking a more active role in the leadership of the U.S.V. Cavalry.  Benefits and drawbacks to our unit, the individuals most directly involved, and the hobby as a whole were carefully considered.

     After everybody’s input had been heard, the decision was made that the 6th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry would dedicate itself to becoming the best cavalry unit we can be, rather than dividing our resources and draining both the unit and its members. We will work on improving the skill and authenticity of our presentation both mounted and in camp, and recruiting new talent so that we are able to field a respectable number of troops at each event the group attends.  We would like to become a model for other units to emulate, as we continue to participate with the United States Volunteers.

     The 6th O.V.C., Co. B, was formed as an “authentic, family oriented cavalry unit”.  It was reiterated at the meeting that we are participating in a family hobby, and neither the safety of horses and riders nor the welcome of our family members will be compromised as we develop.

OLD NEWS

Accolades continue to roll in for our 140th Anniversary Morgan’s Raid event this past September:

 

It was covered by a two-page photo spread in Camp Chase Gazette’s October issue, followed in the Holiday issue by 14 pages of event reports and a full-color front cover of Corporal Poustie and Trooper Green capturing Dick Morgan’s artillery.  The reports included an article by our own Chief Scout Vance of the third day’s flawless ambush, and coincidentally, the same issue offered an honor to Trooper Noble by the 6th Ohio Infantry, his former unit (see page 55).

 

Trooper Barbara Neavel-Watts of the 1st Vermont was published with an excellent event report in the Civil War News.

 

Have you checked out the 6th Ohio website (www.6th-ohio-cavalry.org )? The guest book has comments as late as November 15 of people saying how much they enjoyed the event.  Postings on the Morgan’s Raid website continued through late October.

UPCOMING EVENTS

January  ?                              Canton, OH

 Winter meeting

 

Jan / Feb  ?                            Ohio area

Ball

 

April  ?                                    To Be Announced

Spring Training

 

PHOTO CREDITS

     Photographs of The Battle of the Ohio-Erie Canal were provided courtesy of Mark L. Gaynor. 

EDITOR’S NOTE

 

     Happy holidays, Y’all!!!

 

Trooper Mick